More Of The Most Well Known Crimes In Each State
The Xerox murders, as the incident was known, is still the deadliest mass shooting in Hawaii’s history. In 1999, Byran Uyesugi, a disgruntled employee of Xerox, walked into the building’s office in Honolulu and fatally shot seven people and injured one more. According to the New York Times, he was “under some kind of unusual stress at work.”
Uyesugi was eventually convicted of seven accounts of first-degree murder and an additional charge of second-degree attempted murder. He is currently serving a sentence of life in prison.
Jeralee was just 11 years old when she went missing in the summer of 1993. She had been missing for a week when James Edward Wood was charged with her kidnapping.
Jeralee had visited his home on her paper route. Shortly after she left, he told his family he was going to buy some alcohol, which is when he followed her, kidnapped her, sexually assaulted her, and shot her.
Eventually, Wood led authorities to Snake River, where he had buried her body.
Wood was soon connected to multiple other crimes across the country. He was eventually given the death penalty, but died on death row.
Leopold and Loeb were two rich, smart, and privileged college students in Chicago who wanted to prove their intellectual superiority by committing the perfect crime.
They spent months planning to kidnap and murder a child, and in May 1924 turned their plan into action. They offered Bobby Franks (Loeb’s 14-year-old cousin) a ride home, then bludgeoned him to death. When they disposed of Franks’ body, however, Leopold made a fatal flaw — he dropped his glasses. While they were regular glasses, they had a special hinge that only three people in Chicago had. The pair was quickly arrested and convicted, and admitted that they only committed the murder for the thrill of it.
Loeb was murdered in prison, and Leopold served 34 years and was released on parole in 1958. He died at 67 due to a diabetes-related heart attack.
The murder of Sylvia Likens is known as the “worst crime in Indiana history.” Likens was just 16 when she was found dead in the basement of her temporary home.
Her carnival-worker parents left Sylvia and her sister in the care of 37-year-old Gertrude Baniszewski, a mother of seven, paying Baniszewski by the week.
Three months later, on October 26, 1965, police found Sylvia’a emaciated corpse, apparently covered in hundreds of wounds. Baniszewski — with the help of some of her own kids as well as a few neighborhood kids — had tortured the girl to death.
Baniszewski served 20 years in prison, but was eventually released on parole. She died in 1990. The children involved served between two and seven years.
When Leslie Mark and his wife, both 25, and their two children were found murdered in their farmhouse in 1975, the police didn’t hesitate to question Mark’s older brother, Jerry. The two were later compared to the ill-fated Biblical twins Cain and Abel.
Jerry Mark was convicted of the killings in 1976 and is serving four consecutive life sentences, but maintains his innocence despite having exhausted his appeals. He owned the same bullets found at the crime scene and lied about them, as well as about various other things, making him look suspicious. However, evidence was mostly circumstantial, and more recent DNA results exclude him from being linked to the crime scene.
While a judge ordered his release or a retrial in 2005, Mark continued to lose his appeals and is still serving life in prison.
The Clutter family murders are most well-known for their connection to Truman Capote’s true crime masterpiece “In Cold Blood.”
Four of the Clutters were found dead in their home in 1959 (the two eldest daughters had moved out). It was later uncovered that they had been shot during a botched robbery by two ex-cons out on parole, who believed that Herbert Clutter had a safe containing money (he didn’t).
The two murderers, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, both confessed, and graphically spoke about committing the crime. The jury deliberated for just 45 minutes before convicting them and sentencing them to death. Both were executed after five years on death row.
On September 14, 1989, James Wesbecker walked into his former workplace, the Standard Gravure printing plant, and started shooting. He killed eight people and injured 12 before shooting himself, and the incident became Kentucky’s deadliest mass shooting. Wesbecker had allegedly tried to take his own life at least three times prior to that day and is said to have had a long history of manic depression.
It is believed that Wesbecker was becoming increasingly unwell in the weeks leading up to the shooting. He was on disability leave from the Standard Gravure, and was openly furious about it. He spoke of “wiping the place out” and getting “even with the company,” but those who knew him assumed it was just talk — they were tragically mistaken.
Hathaway was walking home from her own farewell party in May 1980 (she was joining the Army), when Robert Lee Willie and Joseph Vaccarro pulled over, abducted her, raped and tortured her, and eventually killed her. Hathaway was stabbed 17 times. The two eventually left her body near the Bogue Chitto River, off a highway.
Willie and Vaccarro raped another woman and attempted to murder her boyfriend a little over a week after the death of Hathaway. Both survived.
The pair were captured in Arkansas, brought back to Louisiana for the trial, and convicted. Vaccarro was sentenced to life in prison, and Willie was sentenced to death, perhaps due to his cavalier attitude about the crimes. He told the courtroom that he had enjoyed raping Hathaway, with her parents in the room.
Willie became close with a nun who was there as a spiritual advisor, and the relationship was depicted in a movie starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, called “Dead Man Walking.” Before Willie was executed, he is said to have winked at the nun.
The small town of Amity was rocked by a triple-homicide in 2010. Jeremy Ryan, his son Jesse, and friend Jason Dehahn, were all found stabbed to death in a mobile home.
Thayne Ormsby, who was staying with a local family, the Strouts, confessed to the murders. DNA evidence at the crime scene confirmed that he was present at the mobile home.
Robert Strout, 64, was sentenced to four years in prison for helping Ormsby conceal evidence (he helped him get rid of Ryan’s truck and disposed of the murder weapon, a knife). He told police that Ormsby threatened to kill him and his family if they didn’t help him.
However, during the course of the trial it came to light that the Strouts and Ryans allegedly had a contentious relationship, due to Jeremy Ryan having a child with Robert’s daughter.
Ormsby, who was just 20 at the time of the murders, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury dismissed this and found him guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison, and since the state of Maine abolished parole, will remain in prison.
Few crimes have taken on a second life like the tragic murder of 18-year-old high school student Hae Min Lee, who was found dead inside Baltimore’s Leakin Park four weeks after her disappearance in 1999.
Eventually, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was arrested and convicted of her murder based largely on circumstantial evidence, the confession of their mysterious fellow student Jay, an incompetent lawyer, and an inability to provide a solid alibi. He was sentenced to life plus 30 years.
The case came roaring back into the public eye with the 2014 podcast “Serial,” which took a deep dive into the case and captivated listeners all over the world. Soon, everyone learned about how Jay could be considered untrustworthy, how some of his story didn’t completely line up, how Syed’s lawyer didn’t do her due diligence by following up with potential alibis, how racism/Islamophobia could’ve played a part, and how the cell phone records that seemingly proved Syed’s locations should never have been used at all.
Syed’s conviction was vacated in 2016, and Maryland’s second-highest court ruled he deserved a new trial — this was overturned by a higher court. The Supreme Court of the United States denied Syed a new trial, so it remains to be seen what happens to Syed.
Lee’s family, for their part, have said they remain convinced of Syed’s guilt, now more than ever.
You might know Lizzie Borden from the rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe/And gave her mother 40 whacks/When she saw what she had done/She gave her father 41.”
In reality, Borden was acquitted of the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother. Borden had found her father, beaten to death with a hatchet, before alerting the family’s maid. Together they then found Borden’s stepmother in an upstairs bedroom, also the victim of a hatchet attack.
Police could find no evidence of who committed the crime, but arrested Lizzie and charged her with murder.
Because the evidence against her was purely circumstantial, she was acquitted after the jury deliberated for less than an hour. But the townsfolk of Fall River never stopped believing that she was guilty and ostracized her for the rest of her life.
The Lizzie Borden House where her parents were found murdered is now a popular tourist attraction and was featured on an episode of “Supernatural.”
Originally from Chicago, Till, 14, was in town visiting relatives when he walked into a convenience store on August 24, 1955, with a few friends.
The store was owned by the Bryants, a white family. Till was accused of either whistling at, flirting with, or touching the hand of Carolyn Bryant (whose husband owned the place). Four days after the alleged incident took place, her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till, shot him in the head, and beat him with a gun. They then dumped his body in the Tallahatchie River.
Four days after he had been reported missing, authorities found his body: The only thing that led to his identification was a ring he was wearing, which featured his father’s initials. Till’s mother chose to have an open-casket funeral to “let the world see what has happened, because there is no way I could describe this.”
Though the evidence against Bryant and Milam was compelling, an all-white, all-male jury acquitted them of Till’s murder. Four months later, the pair admitted to the killing in Look Magazine, protected by double jeopardy laws (wherein people can’t be prosecuted for the same offense after either an acquittal or a conviction).
His death spurred on the Civil Rights Movement in the US significantly. Six decades later, Carolyn Bryant Donham admitted that the original allegations against Till weren’t even true.